Now THAT was a game.
True playoff, season on the line atmosphere in that one as the Blazers outlast the Mavericks 134-131, behind Damian Lillard’s career-high tying 61 points.
Kristaps Porzingis finished with 36 points before fouling out late in the fourth. 25 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists for Luka. THJ finished with 24.
Despite Dame’s 61 points and some very questionable calls from the officials, including an offensive foul that fouled out Porzingis and the late charge call on Burke where it looked as if Lillard certainly flopped, the Mavericks had the chance to win the game but fell short again in another clutch situation.
Tonight’s loss locks the Mavericks as the 7th seed in the Western Conference, though their opponent, either the Clippers or Nuggets, has yet to be confirmed.
With the Mavericks missing Jalen Brunson in Orlando, who didn’t join the team to the bubble while rehabbing his shoulder, it’s been Trey Burke who has come to absorb Brunson’s minutes.
And Burke has stepped in nicely.
Tonight, Burke stepped into the starting lineup with Seth Curry out, as he scored 12 points, four rebounds, and nine assists.
Signing Burke as a free agent was a huge get for the Mavericks, being that he was arguably the best free agent available and being that he knows this Mavericks system and built a chemistry with most of the players last season.
Burke will continue to be a huge part of the Mavericks bench with the playoffs approaching.
If you forgot that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a Maverick, I don’t blame you.
From the hiatus to him arriving in Orlando late, MKG has certainly been an after thought for Mavs fans.
But, that may be of the past. Or at least it should be.
Over the last two games, Kidd-Gilchrist has finally seen the floor and has honestly done great things for Dallas on the defensive end.
With the Clippers looking like the likely first round opponent, having MKG spend time defending Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will certainly be a nice addition for Carlisle’s bench rotation.
I talked about Dame in today’s preview but maybe not enough.
He’s unstoppable. It’s that simple.
And when it’s a must-win game or crunch time, that’s when he’s at his best. Tonight was no different, scoring a career-high tying 61 points.
What hurt the Mavericks the most was the Blazers continued to attack Dallas with Dame in the pick-and-roll and continued to switch, leaving KP or Kleber on an island with Lillard, and we know how most of those situations ended tonight.
For Dallas, this can be seen as an eye opening moment on the defensive end going forward as to how they defend the pick-and-roll with such an offensive threat at the head, like Lillard.
The Mavericks finish their eight-game restart schedule on Thursday against the 7-0 Suns.
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